People carry less cash with them

Questions and answers for bank customers about the coronavirus

Is the face mask also compulsory in banks because of Corona?

Whether a face mask has to be worn in the bank branch is handled differently in each federal state. In all federal states, the mask requirement now applies in principle. North Rhine-Westphalia is the only federal state in which the mask requirement in the banks only applies if there is contact between employees and customers or people comparable to them without observing the minimum distance. Exceptions to the obligation to wear a face mask in the bank are usually only available for children. In addition, in some countries employees do not necessarily have to wear face masks in the bank. An overview of the various regulations on the mask requirement in banks is available here.

How can banking transactions be done when bank branches close during the Corona crisis?

In the current situation, each bank decides individually whether individual branches will be closed to customer traffic. Bank employees can then be reached by their customers - even if they work from home - via online banking, telephone or, in some cases, video advice. Banking transactions and customer orders can be carried out digitally and by telephone.

Is there a risk that there will be bottlenecks in the cash supply due to Corona?

No, there is no such risk. The Bundesbank board member Johannes Beermann has declared that there is enough cash in Germany: "We have printed more money than we need, so our safes are well stocked." In Germany there are around 60,000 cash dispensers. In addition, there are the tills with employees in bank branches and around 20,000 payment options at point-of-sale terminals and at Shell petrol stations. So there is a very good infrastructure for the supply of cash.

Do you have further questions about money or banks in the corona crisis? Write to us at [email protected]

The spread of the coronavirus has serious effects on economic activity in Germany. The extent to which banks and their service providers are ultimately also recorded in the area of ​​cash logistics and whether workflows are ensured to the usual extent depends on the further process. As part of their preparatory management for emergencies, the banks and their service providers have already prepared accordingly.

How great is the risk of the corona virus being transmitted through banknotes or coins?

The Deutsche Bundesbank has pointed out that the risk of infection with the coronavirus through cash is extremely low. The Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) provides current information about the virus and the routes of infection. We recommend that customers observe the recommended hygiene measures when handling cash, but also at self-service terminals, touch pads, point-of-sale terminals, etc. Contactless payment methods in particular have a hygienic advantage: with contactless payment, the consumer only has to bring his card or mobile phone close to the merchant's acceptance terminal in order to initiate a payment. In the case of small-value payments - usually up to 50 euros - there is no need to enter a PIN on the terminal's keypad.

Are there special measures taken by banks to protect against infection through the use of ATMs, account statement printers and other self-service terminals?

We recommend that customers observe the general hygiene measures when handling cash, but also at self-service terminals, touch pads, point-of-sale terminals, etc. Current information about the risk of infection and protective measures is available from the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA), among others.

What about cashless payment options?

Germany has a very well developed network for cashless payments. With the girocard alone, it is possible to pay with the card at more than 900,000 POS terminals. In the past year, contactless payment has increased significantly. In December 2020, 60 percent of the more than 5 billion transactions with the girocard were contactless (the annual average was around 50 percent) - i.e. more than every second payment with the girocard.

Contactless payment methods have a hygienic advantage: with contactless payment, the consumer only has to bring his card or mobile phone close to the merchant's acceptance terminal to initiate a payment. In the case of low-value payments made contactless, there is no need to enter a PIN on the keypad of the terminal or to sign the card receipt - usually up to 50 euros.

Is there a risk that trading and the settlement of securities transactions will be impaired?

We do not currently see this danger either. German credit institutions are obliged to draw up emergency plans for crisis situations. These contingency plans are intended to ensure that banking activities - including trading and settlement of securities transactions - are not impaired. In an emergency, substitute solutions are available promptly so that a return to normal operation is possible. The implementation of the emergency plans at the banks is closely coordinated with the supervisory authorities if necessary.

Does the corona crisis endanger my savings deposits in the overnight, fixed-term or current account?

There is nothing to worry about here. Deposits of up to 100,000 euros per depositor and bank in Germany are protected by the statutory deposit insurance. In addition, many banks belong to the voluntary deposit insurance systems of banks and savings banks, which means that deposits are additionally protected. All information about deposit protection is available here.

What do customers have to consider when investing on the stock exchange because of Corona?

First of all: keep calm. Panic is not a good advisor. Especially with equity or fund investments, you need staying power and good nerves to be able to withstand stock market lows. In the past, prices have recovered even after stock market lows. Of course, this is not a guarantee for the future. But rash action is not recommended.

How can I protect myself from cyber fraudsters?

In an exceptional situation in particular, it is important to remain calm and pay attention: Internet criminals quickly used the current flood of messages in connection with the coronavirus to send phishing emails or emails with hidden malware in attachments. For example, they claim that customers need to update their contact details in order to continue communicating with the bank. Another scam: The fraudsters pretend to be an institution to apply for emergency aid and ask companies by e-mail to disclose company-related information on a website. These sensitive data are then misused by the criminals for their own purposes.

The important safety rules also apply here: Never click on links or attachments from unknown senders. Secure your computer and smartphone. No personal data (PINs, passwords) - not even encrypted - save on the PC, tablet or smartphone. Be careful when calling alleged bank employees: Banks will not contact their customers by phone to carry out a security update or transaction. If in doubt, hang up and call the bank yourself.

You should also protect yourself from fraudsters on the phone. You can read more about this in our blog postBeware of the Corona scam: Fraudsters want to take your money out of you by phone

What options are there if I cannot pay my loan installment due to a Corona-related loss of income?

Many consumers are feeling the economic ramifications of the pandemic when paying loan installments. If you have problems paying your loan installments on time, you should contact your bank directly in order to make individual arrangements to suspend or defer loan installments, if necessary.

More information about the Corona aid for companies at a glance is available here.

(Updated 02/10/2021)

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